Electrolytic Marine Salts Co. Ltd.

In 1896 Prescott F. Jernegan claimed to have invented a method of extracting gold from sea water. The device used, called the Gold Accumulator, consisted of a box with holes cut through it to allow the free passage of water. Inside the box was a pan of mercury mixed with a "secret ingredient". After selling many of the "Accumulators" the elaborate scheme turned out to be a hoax. When it was discovered that Jernegan and Fisher had lied to their investors, they both fled the country. Neither Jernegan or Fisher were ever caught. Later, Jernegan did refund $75,000 of the money he had stolen from investors.

New York Herald, 1898

The New York Times, August 11, 1898

posted Jun 8, 2017, 7:28 AM by John Doe

MARINE GOLD CONCERN SUED.; Woman Shareholder Wants the Money She Invested Returned.

Lincoln Nebraska State Journal, pp6, August 6, 1898

posted Jun 8, 2017, 7:25 AM by John Doe

BOSTON. Aug. 4.
There was a lively mauling between the tire directors and stockholders of the Electrolytic Marine Salts company at Young's hotel today. It seined to be the gene al impression that a div dend of £0 cents on the dollar would be alt the stockhol iers could expect. Treasurer Usher said he bal but little h po of getting Jerr.egan back by extradition proceedings. 


posted Jun 8, 2017, 7:10 AM by John Doe   [ updated Jun 8, 2017, 7:12 AM ]






In the summer of 1896, while recovering from an attack of typhoid fever, the attention of the writer was called to the existence of gold in sea-water. A taste for science and familiarity with the sea led to an instant an appreciation of the vast commercial possibilities of this fact. From that moment researches have been conducted with the utmost energy and at an expenditure of many thousands of dollars, with the result that profitable methods of extracting the precious metals from the ocean have been discovered, and the Electrolytic Marine Salts Company has been incorporated to develop these discoveries.

A Contrast.
A large part of the expense of ordinary gold mining is due to the difficulty of excavating, transporting and crushing large masses of rock and earth. To obtain
the raw material and get rid of the refuse is a formidable problem. But in the exploitation of the ocean for gold, unlimited material is freely brought by the tides, and, after treatment, is as inexpensively removed.

In ordinary mining, also, one is seldom free from the risk of a sudden giving out of the vein or deposit; in the ocean the restless currents, by their incessant
action through untold centuries, have distributed the precious metals with absolute uniformity. Tests made in the Irish Sea, the German Ocean, the English Channel, Long Island Sound, Narragansett Bay, Passamaquoddy Bay and the waters of the South Pacific show no appreciable differences in the quantitative presence of gold and silver. Here, then, is a mine where the slightest margin
of value over the expense of production will, by expansion of the plant, guarantee a practically unlimited and unvarying return. Before relating the facts concerning the discovery of a profitable process, a brief sketch of the scientific
basis of this subject is in point.

A Scientific Fact.
That the waters of the ocean contain gold has long been recognized as an established fact of science. Appleton's American Encyclopaedia, Johnson's Universal Encyclopaedia, the Encyclopaedia Brittanica and many other works of repute may be consulted as authority for this statement. A succinct account of the scientific basis of this fact is given in “The Engineering and Mining Journal”
for November 21, 1896, page 483, by an article from the pen of Prof. Henry Wurtz, one of the earliest investigators of this subject and a chemist of high repute. The following is an abstract of this article.

Oceanic Gold.
“Sir: There has recently been published in the London Chemical News (Vol. LXXIV. 146, 160 and 166; September and October, 1896), a memoir of an unusually interesting and important character, which is neither more nor less than the first positive confirmation of the discovery published in 1872 by Sonstadt (Chemical News, Vol. XXVI., 159, 1872) of the presence of gold in the waters of the ocean that cover most of our terrestrial globe. This confirmation proceeds from the distinguished professor of chemistry in the University of Sydney, New South Wales, A. Liversidge.* * This journal (American Journal of Mining, issue of January 11, 1868) contained the first suggestion and prediction thus far found in scientific literature of the existence of oceanic gold. This
prediction was no casual or accidental 'passing suggestion' but one of the inevitable sequences of a comprehensive generalization, entitled ‘A Theory
of Gold Genesis’ presented by the present writer to the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1866, some six years antecedent to the great discovery of Sonstadt. This said theory was generalized from a survey of the whole field, as then known, of chemical geology. Chemists were urged by the writer to search for gold in ocean water. To some readers aware of the high position as a chemist occupied by Sonstadt, it may appear a sort of superfluous expenditure of time and labor to go over this subject again, especially in the thorough and masterly way in which Liversidge has re-handled it. By the ordinary student, for example, it has, no doubt, been generally regarded as a solidly fixed fact that the ocean contains gold, and that is the end of it.
* * * * `*
I am sure that Prof. Liversidge has conferred on science a special boon in exhuming the subject in the way he has and in diligently and as a finality
confirming Sonstadt's discovery so absolutely; and, above all, in determining quantitatively the limits of the present proportion of oceanic gold. * Liversidge concludes his paper as follows: ‘All the above evidence is in favor of gold being
present in the sea-water off the New South Wales coast in the proportion of about 1/2 to 1 grain per ton, or, in round numbers, from 130-260 tons of
gold per cubic mile.’ Further he adopts as a recent estimate of the whole bulk of the ocean, 308,- 710,679 cubic miles.

At one grain per ton of water, this means, he adds further, over 75,000,000,000 tons of gold. I might add that such weight computes, at 23.22 grains of fine gold to the dollar, to about 48,000,000,000,000.

With your kind permission I will go back a generation to the days of our youth and reproduce for your readers a few paragraphs of the American Association article on ' Gold Genesis'. I will condense as much as I can the first six of the seven postulates presented then and there as constituting a new theory of the origin of the gold of the oceanic sediments and fragmental rocks from its
primary solution in the ocean.

1. The contents of the primary metalliferous strata, as well as the lodes therein contained (both ore and gangue), were deposited from suspension and solution in the heated waters of the primeval ocean.

2. These waters contained in solution all the metals now found as sulphides and oxides in forms soluble, if not in pure water, yet in solutions of the saline constituents of that ocean.
* * * * *

4. Through reducing agencies, probably proceeding from dead organisms, the metallic sulphates became sulphides, and as such were deposited with the sediments and precipitates of the water.

6. The oceanic gold assuming then metallic form, its crystallizing atoms arranged themselves into crystalic or polaric homogeneity."

Sonstadt's Investigations.
The researches of Dr. Eduard Sonstadt, a distinguished English chemist, referred to in the above article by Dr. Wurtz, are here summarized:
“I have used three entirely different methods for the detection of gold in seawater. The experiments have been made upon specimens collected at different times from different parts of Ramsey Bay, Isle of Man, and
the results obtained from the different specimens have been in entire accordance. The reagents used in these experiments were not only severely tested separately as to freedom from the precious metals, but in each set of
experiments on the sea-water entirely correspondent experiments were made upon rain-water, always with negative results."

Sonstadt considered the proportion of gold present in sea-water to be something “less than one grain in the ton.” Even in this early stage of investigation he
considered it “conceivable that Method II might be practically applied to the exploitation of the gold in seawater which might be received at high water in large tanks, and emptied at low water, the precipitate left in the tank being taken out from time to time.” See “Chemical News,” Vol. 26, page 159.

From time to time since 1872 Sonstadt has performed further experiments confirming his earlier researches. His most important contribution to this subject since his first authoritative announcement of the
existence of gold in sea-water is a series of tests made
in 1896, which tend to prove that the gold and silver in
sea-water are in a free state and not locked up in intricate chemical combinations. This fact greatly facilitates the establishment of a profitable process of extraction.

Other investigators, including S. C. Rose, Assistant
Assayer of the British Mint, have studied along the
lines laid down by Sonstadt, more, doubtless, than is
generally known, since the hope of discovering a valuable secret has led them to carry on their work quietly.

The Work of Prof. Liversidge.
A few details concerning the researches of Dr.
Liversidge, referred to above, are in place. These
experiments have been in progress for several years and
embrace scores of tests made on sea-water carefully
collected by sea captains from spots hundreds of miles
apart in the South Pacific Ocean.

The writer of this prospectus while engaged in
investigating this subject in England, met several eminent chemists who saw Prof. Liversidge when he was
in London last winter, and all of them testified to the
authoritativeness of his statements and the interests ex-

cited by them in the scientific world. He is still continuing his researches in this field.
Prof. Liversidge states: “All the sea-water gave
some silver, usually from 1 to 2 grains per ton.”
(Chemical News, October 21, 1896.)
He records a test which shows the ease with which
gold in sea-water may be precipitated : “The inside
of the thirty-six gallon cask which had contained the
Coogee sea-water, was scraped, but very imperfectly,
and two ounces of scrapings obtained, containing gold
equal to 1 dwt. 6.46 grains per ton. Only a part of
the barrel was scraped, and that not deeply; but the
above results are quite sufficient to show that the gold
and silver in sea-water are precipitated by the wood.”
Liversidge suggests that even with such processes
as he used there is reason to think that it might pay to
extract gold as “a by-product in the manufacture of
salt, bromine, etc.”
A Task for the Imagination.
One is at a loss to comprehend the enormous
wealth thus floating in solution in the ocean. At the
lowest estimate, a cubic mile of sea-water contains gold
to the value of $65,000,000. It is probably nearer the
mark. to place it at $100,000,000.
There is enough gold in the waters of Long Island
Sound to pay off the National Debt and leave a larger

gold reserve in the Treasury than the Government has
yet possessed.
The waters that sweep in and out of New York
Bay daily contain enough gold to buy all the ships and
merchandise borne on their surface.
Massachusetts Bay holds enough of the precious
metal to buy all the real and personal property in the
entire state. Acre for acre the waters of the bay are
worth more than the land of the state.
A Practical Undertaking.
In referring to personal investigations, the writer
needs only to remind the reader that anything like an
explicit revelation of the methods employed would be a
betrayal of the interests of the stockholders of the
Company which has acquired the use of these processes.
He desires, however, to direct especial attention to
one principle that has guided all the investigations, viz.:
that no theory was to be accepted until it had been tried
on a practical scale at the seashore under conditions
that would conform to those of a working plant.
With this principle in mind, practical tests have
been made in Narragansett Bay, Long Island Sound,
Passamaquoddy Bay, Whitstable-by-the-Sea, England,
and Sea View, on the Isle of Wight, as well as several
other places.
As the result of these experiments hundreds
of dollars' worth of gold have been extracted at an ex-

pense that leaves no doubt of the practicability and
profitableness of the processes.
The writer has been assisted in these experiments
by a co-worker, and indirectly by prominent chemists
in England, where six months were spent in perfecting
processes where advantage could be taken of the latest
and most complete chemical laboratories.
The process which will be employed in the immediate future uses a series of identical pieces of apparatus, each of which is a complete machine in itself and
uses water independently of all the others. One of
these sets, of the full size that will be used in the largest
plant that need ever be built, has been tested at the very
spot in Passamaquoddy Bay where our plant is in process of instalment. The results were eminently satisfactory. Before January 1, 1898, it is confidently expected that a plant will be in operation which will
extract a minimum of one hundred dollars' worth of
gold a day, at a cost which is a small fraction of the
production. By the spring or summer of 1898 it is
believed that a plant, the location for which is already
acquired, will be in operation, producing one thousand
dollars a day.
The writer was in a position, nearly a year ago, to
substantiate his claim for the discovery of a profitable
process of extracting gold from sea-water. In the time
that has since elapsed he has expended thousands of
dollars in order to establish a process that should be

uniform in its rate of production, simple in operation
and capable of rapid expansion.
A Credible Claim.
To many the above claim may appear astounding,
not to say incredible. Reflection will show, however,
that it is not for a moment to be classed with the socalled processes for transmuting the baser metals into
gold. Attention is called to the following indisputable
1. The ocean does contain gold in uniform distribution and practically inexhaustible quantity.
2. Any Person can verify this fact at a small expense of time and money with the assistance of a chemist or assayer.
3. Scientists have already discovered and published processes that applied on a large scale very
nearly make it profitable to extract gold from seawater. The problem is far less difficult than many that
modern science is daily solving.
4. The writer of this article has investigated this
subject in a more practical way, viz., by making tests
on a larger scale at the seashore, than any other investigator and at a much greater financial outlay.
5. As a result he has demonstrated to several gentlemen of ability and intelligence, who cannot possibly

be suspected of collusion, the practicability of this process. These gentlemen have furnished their own
chemicals and had the fullest liberty of access to all
apparatus used, following the experiments with unremitting attention and testing the results through assayers
of their own choice and the highest standing. In some
cases the discoverer has not been present at the test or
known even where it was being held.

The New York Times, April 23, 1899

posted Jun 8, 2017, 7:08 AM by John Doe

THE ELECTROLYTIC COMPANY.; Shareholders Obtain a Dividend from Cash Returned by Jernegan.

BOSTON, April 22. -- The committee in charge of the affairs of the Electrolytic Marine Salts Company, of which the Rev. Prescott F. Jernegan was President, and which was thrown into difficulties by Mr. Jernegan's unexpected departure several months ago, has announced to the share-holders whom it represents a dividend of 20 per cent., payable May 1.

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